The New England Patriots claimed Martellus Bennett off waivers on Thursday and injected a lot of energy into their fanbase with the return of a key component from last year’s championship run.
However, Bennett’s triumphant return faces one major obstacle before it even begins. He’s reportedly dealing with a torn rotator cuff and is in at least some jeopardy of being placed on injured reserve, according to a report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Bennett will attempt to play through the injury first, but if he can’t go the Patriots are prepared to put him on injured reserve. Since he was owed just under a half-million dollars for the remainder of the season, they viewed bringing him back as a low-risk gamble even with the knowledge of his injury.
And even though he is technically under contract for two more seasons after signing a three-year, $21 million contract with the Green Bay Packers this offseason, there’s no remaining guaranteed money left on his deal. Plus, he has designs on retiring after this season.
In 2016, Bennett caught 55 passes for 701 yards and 7 touchdowns with New England. With starting tight end Rob Gronkowski injured for most of the season, he was an integral part of the Patriots offense.
This year, Gronkowski has been able to stay relatively healthy, so Bennett will be asked to take a supplementary role. That should help them protect his injured shoulder to an extent, but it will still be interesting to see if he can last for the remainder of the season given the seriousness of his injury.
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